People who stage homes for a living swear by these cheap tricks to make any room in your home look good

You don’t have to be selling a house to put these design-worthy tips to good use.

ByClaire Epting
Originally Published: 
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As it turns out, people who stage homes for a living know a thing or two about how to get your space looking its best. According to them, you don’t need to spend a small fortune to improve the appearance of your house or apartment — all you need are these expert-recommended design tricks that are easy on the wallet.

For example, by adding texture to your sofa with an airy muslin throw blanket and adding a light-reflecting lamp to a dark corner, you can make your home feel warmer and more inviting. (Easy.) Our trusted industry professionals have plenty more tips for taking your living space to the next level.


This organic muslin throw blanket that comes in muted, plant-dyed colors

“Coming from a fashion and costume design background, I love adding texture in the textiles,” says Corban Torstenson, owner and designer of Los Angeles-based staging and interior design firm The Here Company. “[This] throw blanket is a perfect accent to add softness, warmth and welcome to a space,” she adds. Made from organic muslin, it has a subtle waffle texture and fringe that adds a rustic, inviting aesthetic, whether you place it over your couch or at the end of your bed. There are 11 plant-dyed shades to pick from, including sage green, rust orange, and soft pink.

  • Available sizes: 2
  • Available colors: 11


A minimalist stoneware vase that balances the softer materials in your space

To create “inviting balance” in your space, Torstenson suggests combining elements made of different materials within the same space, like stoneware, wood, metal, textiles, and plants. For starters, she recommends a stoneware pitcher vase that serves as a stunning accent piece in your kitchen or living room — fill it with a bouquet of tiny buds or dried stems, or let it stand on its own as an art piece in its own right. The angular, minimalist design complements a wide range of decor styles.

  • Available sizes: 16 ounces, 24 ounces


This rustic woven jute basket that can be used so many different ways

“A versatile and decorative basket can be used as a pot for a plant, storage for throw blankets or toys, or simply a sculptural piece to add to a room,” says Torstenson. This rustic woven basket fits the bill, and can serve as a laundry hamper. Made of natural jute rope, the two-tone vessel has built-in handles that allow you to easily transport it from room to room.

  • Available sizes: 66 liters, 105 liters
  • Available colors: 3


The striking metallic bowl that brings light to your space

Torstenson explains that metals with a sheen like brass “can offer light and balance to a room while elevating it.” Made of durable iron with a metallic finish, this accent bowl can serve as the base of a stunning floral or succulent centerpiece, or as a vessel for potpourri or floating candles. Measuring 9 inches in diameter, the bowl is just the right size to make an impact in your space — but not too big to overwhelm its surroundings.


This scalloped jute rug that has a natural, playful vibe

Made of natural braided jute, this rustic rug is a simple yet effective way to warm up a space in a natural, understated way. “Jute rugs can add an earthy element to a cold tile or stone floor, [and] this one with the scalloped edges adds some playfulness,” Torstenson says. While this style features natural-colored piping that blends into the rug, there are other options with contrast piping in shades such as light pink, navy, black, and white.

  • Available colors: 6


A cordless table lamp that creates instant mood lighting anywhere

With a brightness-adjustable touch sensor and a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 48 hours, this portable LED table lamp is the kind of thing you’ll use every night at dinner. “This is probably my favorite purchase of the last year — it offers great ambient lighting and can move around the room with you,” raves Torstenson. “I've placed it on a coffee table, dining table, outside for an evening gathering, even used it as a flashlight when the power went out.” With a streamlined, art deco-inspired design, it elevates any surface you place it on. Choose from metallic finishes or opt for a matte hue.

  • Available colors: 5


These natural pampas grass stems that last longer than fresh flowers

“I love fresh florals but pampas and other dried florals are great year-round,” says Torstenson. This natural pampas bouquet looks stunning whether you gather all the stems together in a large vase, or scatter them around your home in smaller bundles. The pieces can also be used to fill out a dried evergreen bouquet. Simply place the grass in the sun — or fluff up the stems with a blow dryer — before arranging.


An acacia wood cutting board that provides soft contrast in the kitchen

Torstenson says a wood cutting board can create a nice contrast to the wall, tile, or countertop in your kitchen. She specifically recommends this round board made of sleek acacia wood, as it “helps break up the sharp corners of the cabinetry.” Available in four different sizes, the reversible board is designed with a handle and hanging loop for easy portability and storage. Of course, this decor piece is also useful — put it to work when you’re prepping food or use it to display a gorgeous array of meats, cheeses, and crackers.

  • Available sizes: 10 inches, 12 inches, 14 inches, 16 inches


This modern side table that doubles as a plant stand or bookshelf

“With staging, versatility is key,” says Torstenson. “This side table can also make a great plant stand, bench for the end of a bed or in a bathroom, or a small bookshelf in a kids’ room.” Lightweight and easy to assemble, this piece has sleek, rounded lines and a minimalist feel that’ll blend in easily to a variety of spaces. If you’re looking for more storage than this double-tier design has to offer, you can pick a style that has three or even four levels.

  • Available styles: 22


This coffee table book that acts as an art piece in your living room

Thanks to its abstract, eye-catching cover, this cocktail book makes an excellent choice for a coffee table book. “Having a great book on the coffee table adds a little extra art to the room,” says Torstenson. “It can also tell a story of the environment you want to create, and offers guests something to enjoy as they flip through.” The hardcover book is filled with 75 cocktail recipes, and it has an impressive 4.9-star Amazon rating.


The simple cotton throw pillow with tassels that add dimension

“Accent decor is like jewelry to the outfit — if you have a good base of furniture, you can always play with accents in color, shape, and scale,” says Torstenson. While this solid-hued throw pillow qualifies as a neutral piece, Torstenson notes that the tassels add dimension around the edges. The skin-friendly cotton fabric has a light texture that lends it a rustic vibe — choose from seven different shades, including mustard yellow, navy blue, and russet orange.

  • Available colors: 7


A circular wall mirror that makes any room appear more spacious & inviting

“A well-placed mirror can literally add square footage to any room,” says Robin DeCapua, owner and designer at Los Angeles-based home staging company Madison Modern Home. This circular wall mirror is easy to install with the built-in chain. “Round shapes contrast with the boxy room configuration to bring an organic and warm feel to the space,” DeCapua adds.

  • Available sizes: 9.8 inches, 11.8 inches, 15.7 inches


This circular end table that comes in a wide array of vibrant colors

In addition to a rounded mirror, DeCapua also suggests incorporating a circle-shaped end table into your space. “One of my fave stager tips is to embrace circular end tables,” she says. “Because side tables are almost always the termination point of a sofa or square armchair, the warmth of a round shape is welcome,” she explains. This minimalist metal end table comes in over a dozen vibrant shades — including peacock blue, mint green, and brick red — so it’s a great way to add a pop of color to your room as well.

  • Available colors: 19


A boucle throw pillow that adds contrasting texture to your sofa

“Mix textures so that each one has its moment in the sun,” instructs DeCapua. “A nubby sweater pillow next to a smooth cotton one, a fluffy sheepskin atop a wood floor — you get the idea.” Made of a textured bouclé material, this throw pillow cover warms up the look of your couch, and will stand out from smoother materials. Just place it over a square pillow insert that’s roughly the same size as the cover. There are seven neutral shades to pick from, including buttery cream and graphite gray.

  • Available sizes: 4
  • Available colors: 7


The faux sheepskin rug that warms up a hard-surface floor

Following DeCapua’s previous advice, the fluffy texture of this high-pile faux sheepskin rug is a cozy contrast to the smooth look of a hard-surface floor. Choose a natural shade such as white or gray, or opt for a whimsical hue such as light blue, blush pink, or deep purple. There are plenty of shape and size options to suit your individual space, whether you place it at the foot of your bed or under a coffee table.

  • Available colors and styles: 25


Some peel & stick wallpaper with an oversize print that embraces scale

“Make friends with scale and you'll take your home to the next level,” says DeCapua. Covered in an oversize eucalyptus-leaves print, this peel-and-stick wallpaper is perfect for creating an accent wall in your bedroom, living room, or even the tiniest of bathrooms. “Imagine walking into a forest of leaf-patterned walls to powder your nose,” she continues. “It's impactful, empowering and liberating to embrace scale.” The wallpaper is easy to apply by peeling away the adhesive backing, and can be removed easily at any time.

  • Available colors: 5


This organic rattan pendant light that’s right on trend

According to DeCapua, statement light fixtures made of organic materials are having a moment. This rattan pendant light complements both rustic and modern decor styles — it’s an overall versatile piece that adds ambient lighting to your dining room, bedroom, or living room. The dimmable light plugs directly into any electrical outlet (i.e., no complicated wiring involved), with a 13.7-foot-long power cord that’s covered in rope for a natural look.


These brushed metal cabinet pulls that update old kitchen cupboards

“Instantly freshen up outdated cabinets with contemporary handles,” instructs Jessica Neal-Smith, owner and designer at Washington-based home staging company More Decor. Made of sleek, matte metal, these cabinet pulls lend a modern look to your kitchen pantry doors and drawers. Besides black, these pulls also come in brushed brass and satin nickel.

  • Available sizes: 3.75 inches, 5 inches, 6.25 inches, 8.75 inches
  • Available colors: 5


A soft knit throw blanket with a warm, cozy vibe

Neal-Smith recommends investing in an ivory knit throw blanket, as it “makes a home feel more cozy and inviting.” Made from a mid-weight cotton yarn, the blanket provides you or your guests with an extra layer of warmth as you curl up on your sofa or chair. Besides an array of subtle neutral shades, the throw is available in every color of the rainbow — so you can liven up your furniture with a pop of color.

  • Available sizes: 50 inches x 60 inches, 60 inches x 80 inches
  • Available colors: 14


The brass candlestick holders that add an elegant touch wherever you put them

“Brass candlestick holders with ivory taper candles add charm and instant style to any table, shelf, or mantle,” says Neal-Smith. Featuring streamlined, skinny stems and rounded bases made of brushed metal, these candlestick holders elevate any space you place them in. The pair of holders comes with two different heights, adding some levels to your decor.


These ivory taper candles that burn up to 8 hours apiece

To go along with those metallic candle holders, here’s a highly rated set of 10 ivory taper candles. They add an ambient glow to your dining room table or mantel, and the classic color will never go out of style. With a 100% cotton wick, each scentless, paraffin candle burns for eight hours, creating a clean, smooth flame that won’t create excessive soot.


This scented candle that comes in a sleek black jar

“Black jar candles are a great way to set a relaxed, chill vibe, and add contrast to any neutral palette,” says Neal-Smith. This option from Lulu Candles is an excellent pick — the soy wax blend burns cleanly and evenly, distributing its heavenly fragrance throughout your room. Choose from a collection of gorgeous scents, including jasmine, oud, and sandalwood, island coconut, and palo santo.

  • Available sizes: 9 ounces, 11 ounces
  • Available scents: 18


A brushed metal picture frame that elevates the look of your favorite photos

“Update your walls and showcase photos you love,” say Kate Keyser and Lauren Dalrymple, home stagers at Ivy Lane Home Staging in Denver, Colorado. “Simple pieces can make a big impact and we are loving gold frames lately.” They recommend picking up a picture frame with a large matte that creates a clean border around your picture — it’ll make any photo look like it’s on display at a gallery. Two sturdy saw tooth clips on the back allow you to hang it up on your wall with ease.

  • Available sizes: 4


The matte black food storage jar that’s as functional as it is elegant

“Food storage containers that contrast with your kitchen can make a statement on your kitchen counter without a huge expense,” Keyser and Dalrymple say. Designed with an airtight bamboo lid, this ceramic jar is equal parts sophisticated and functional. Use the canister to hold coffee beans, tea leaves, sugar, and more — your dried goods will remain fresh and dry on your countertop. Choose between matte black and white options, depending on your kitchen’s color scheme.

  • Available sizes: Small — Large
  • Available colors: Black, White


These amber glass soap dispensers that are practical & sophisticated

Angela Deniston, Strategic Interior Design Advisor at Real Estate Bees, suggests replacing your hand and dish soap bottles with these soap dispensers made from amber glass. “They're practical and stylish — a simple and inexpensive way to make your kitchen look more sophisticated.” Complete with a set of mix-and-match labels and an anti-slip resin tray, the vintage-inspired bottles instantly elevate your kitchen. The sturdy pumps come in three finishes: black, silver, and gold.

  • Available colors: 3


A trio of wooden pillar candle holders that can be grouped for an eclectic look

“Use pillar candle holders in varying heights to easily fill space,” says Deniston. “They're great for styling mantels and tables, or you can group them on a tray with other items for a curated look.” This trio of wooden candle holders has a warm, rustic vibe, adding an inviting touch to your dining room table or entryway. Each holder is outfitted with a spike for holding wax candles, but you can remove it if you prefer to use flameless LED candles. The felt pads on the bottoms prevent scratching and damage to wooden surfaces.

  • Available colors: 3


Some faux plants that add a touch of greenery to your home

If you don’t have a green thumb, Ottawa-based realtor and home stager Michelle Donaldson-Rouleau suggests picking up a few artificial plants to liven up your space. “Add a fake plant with a stack of books or a candle and it quickly makes a home feel cozier,” she says. This set of faux plants comes with four matching pots, perfect for placing in your windowsill, along a shelf, or any other space you need a touch of green. Each one has a slightly different shape, which further contributes to the realistic look of different types of greenery.


These vintage-inspired botanical prints that come at a wallet-friendly price

“Artwork doesn't need to be expensive,” says Donaldson-Rouleau. These simple yet stunning botanical wall prints from Sandstone & Sage are proof. The four unframed pieces of artwork look lovely placed together as a collage, but you can also hang them up individually in separate rooms. Subtle and soothing, each one of these prints is a reproduction of an actual vintage design, giving them an air of classic authenticity.


A pair of glass olive oil bottles that look great sitting on your kitchen counter

Designed with stainless steel pour spouts, these glass bottles make drizzling olive oil over your food oh-so easy. Not to mention, they simply look so streamlined and elegant in your kitchen. “Placing these on your countertops help set the scene for cooking,” says Donaldson Rouleau. “They are a great addition to any kitchen counter.” This set also includes a convenient funnel attachment for effortlessly refilling your bottles with oil.

  • Available colors: 3


Some fluffy white towels that give your bathroom a 5-star hotel feel

Replacing your worn, stained hand towels with these crisp white ones can go a long way in making your home look nicer, according to Andy Kolodgie, real estate expert and founder of Sell My House Fast. “Adding fresh white towels is a simple and effective way to upgrade the look,” he states. Made from ultra-absorbent Turkish cotton, the towels have an ultra-soft, luxurious feel to them, reminiscent of the ones you’d find at a nice hotel. Once you’re hooked on the hand towels, you may want to invest in the complete six-piece set.

  • Available sets: 5
  • Available colors: 15


This natural seagrass basket that adds a spa touch to the bathroom counter

To further amp up the luxurious, peaceful vibe of your bathroom, Kolodgie says, “Place a small woven basket for used hand cloths to complete the spa feel.” Made of natural seagrass, this 12-inch-long rustic basket is the perfect size for holding folded guest towels on the bathroom counter — but you can also use it for napkins in the kitchen. The wooden handles also make it portable, so you can easily carry it to the laundry room when it’s time to wash.


These solar-powered stake lights that illuminate your landscape

“Solar spots come with a low price tag but their effect is priceless,” says Kolodgie. “Use them to light up your path, and garden features, as well as trees.” These solar-powered stake lights automatically turn on when the sun goes down, illuminating your pathway in the dark or highlighting your favorite landscape feature. They’re fully waterproof and frost-resistant, so you can count on them to work in nearly any weather. The powerful beams give you plenty of visibility at their highest setting, but you can also adjust the brightness for subtler illumination.

  • Available colors: 3


The floral ceramic kitchen knobs that have a vintage aesthetic

If you’re after a farmhouse-chic or cottage-core aesthetic in your home, Kolodgie advises looking out for “vintage or ceramic styles” when shopping for drawer and cupboard knobs. These ceramic pulls are engraved with a charming floral design, emulating handmade folk art. You’ll find them in a wide array of pleasing hues, including sky blue, grass green, and light red.

  • Available colors: 11


The essential oil diffuser that releases a subtle scent into your home

According to Catherine Mack, real estate expert and owner of House Buyer Network, the smell of your home plays a significant part in the overall ambience — and an essential oil diffuser is an effective way to fill the room with a lovely fragrance. Just add a few drops of your favorite oil to the inner chamber and fill it up with water. “Keep the scent subtle rather than overpowering,” Mack advises. If you’d like, you can even set the LED light to one of seven colors.

  • Available colors: 8


This reflective crystal table lamp that brings radiance to dark corners

“Reflective surfaces are perfect for illuminating darker areas in your room and help to blend bright spaces with darker ones,” says Mack. That’s why she recommends placing a crystal table lamp in a low-light reading nook or bedroom to make the area more inviting. As functional as it is stunning, the touch-control lamp features dual USB charging ports on its base — this also makes it an excellent choice for compact rooms where wall outlet space is at a premium.

  • Available colors: 2


These adhesive clips that keep your cables neat & out of the way

Mack stresses the importance of keeping your wires and cables neat and out of the way — and with these adhesive clips, it couldn’t be any easier to do so. Simply stick the pieces along any wood, metal, glass, plastic, or ceramic surface and thread your cable through each clip. Use them in your home office, your bedroom, your kitchen, or any other spot where you use multiple appliances.


A sleek metal doorknob that instantly elevates your entryway

“Entrances are key to establishing the aesthetic appeal of a home,” says Tony Mariotti, owner of Los Angeles luxury real estate brokerage firm RubyHome. That’s why he recommends replacing a worn-out front door handle with one made of sleek metal. Available in polished chrome, satin nickel, and matte black finishes, this doorknob can be installed with nothing but a screwdriver. A under $40, the price is right, too.

  • Available colors: 4


This faux eucalyptus wreath that adds a gorgeous touch to your front door

Mariotti notes that a decorative wreath can also enhance front-door appeal. Made of realistic-looking eucalyptus stems and willow leaves, this stunning wreath adds a welcoming touch of greenery to your entryway. The handmade wreath measures about 20 inches in diameter, which is plenty big enough to make an eye-catching statement. You can even make it your own by adding ribbons, colorful faux flowers, and other decorative accents.


A pretty bouquet of realistic-looking flowers

“Fake flowers for dining room tables can also create a nice boost,” says Mariotti. While this pretty bouquet of stems may be artificial, its appearance is anything but — each piece is crafted to look as close to the real thing as possible. The sunset-inspired bunch of flowers includes an eclectic variety of faux hydrangeas, peonies, and eucalyptus leaves, but you can opt for other bouquets in shades like champagne white, autumn brown, and purple.


The wood repair kit that fixes nicks & scratches on your furniture

To elevate the look of your home, Matt Ward, Nashville-based realtor and owner of the Matt Ward Group, suggests picking up this furniture repair kit that conceals minor imperfections in your wooden furniture. You get six pigmented markers and six wax crayons in a spectrum of wood-colored shades. Ward loves the versatility of this kit, saying “It works on almost all the common types of wood furniture, such as oak, cherry, walnut, [and] birch.” Put this to use, and your furniture will look brand new.